I have had to chuckle to myself about Republican leadership’s call for more “intellectual diversity” in South Dakota’s public university system. The crux of the argument is that South Dakota’s universities do not have enough Republican professors and administrators, or perhaps even worse in their minds, has too many Democrats. It is startling to me that politicians now feel the need to cast even teachers into partisan groups. What’s next? Are we going to start dividing ourselves between Republican and Democratic dentists? Auto parts managers? Hairstylists? When will it end?

I went to the University of South Dakota from 2004 to 2008. My wife went to USD law school from 2011 to 2014. Needless to say, I have had a lot of interaction with South Dakota’s faculty over the last 15 years. My experience is that our professors do not care about partisanship but instead possess the sole yearning desire that their students would develop the ability to do the work and think critically. What mattered was not so much where you ended, but the work you put in to get there.

For example, in my freshman year at USD, I took a political science course about the death penalty. My professor was openly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. Nevertheless, she taught all perspectives on the death penalty equally, and she actively encouraged students to argue with each other over the merits of the death penalty. She herself would often passionately articulate the pro-death penalty argument even though it was not her personal belief. At the end of the class, every student had all the facts, figures, and arguments for and against the death penalty, and we all reached different opinions to varying degrees about the death penalty’s role in society.

Economics is an area of thought that often gets criticized for being too conservative, but again, I never felt that my USD professors were actively promoting one school of thought. My labor economics professor, who is now the head of the USD Economics Department, presented all viewpoints on the labor economy, and I still have not been able to figure out exactly where he falls on the political spectrum! I also don’t care. He is a good teacher. Current State Representative and former Professor Ray Ring was famous for always taking the contrarian position for the benefit of the class even when it was not his own personal belief. A devil’s advocate if there ever was one.

Partisanship has destroyed our government. It threatens our American culture based on our shared values of fairness, hard work, and respect for one another. We should not let politicians and partisanship invade our educational systems because I like my dentist and my barber, and I am pretty sure they are both Republicans! Let teachers teach, let hairstylists be hairstylists, let auto parts managers be auto parts managers.

Instead of becoming blind by a narrow focus on the flame of partisanship, I invite our state Republican leadership to join me and retired USD Professor Mary Pat Bierle, a Republican, to “take a walk around the lantern” and think critically about why Americans have different opinions and why those differences matter towards forming a more perfect union.

(7) comments

nokoolaidforme

Apparently you are ignorant then and should bow out of your job as representative. Colleges and universities are dominant by liberals and most are not ethical enough to be bipartisan. They use their positions to indoctrinate instead of educate. Time for you to wake up.

antiteaparty

Oh look, here's nokoolaid just being the sheep that he is and parroting Faux News and Dump's talking points. nokoolaid thinks critical thinking is a bad thing. nokoolaid is totally cool with locking kids in concentration camps because Faux News and Dump say immigrants are vermin who are coming to destroy America. nokoolaid has been totally indoctrinated by right wing talking points that he is incapable of thinking for himself. I propose that we make laws that Faux News must present two sides to every argument that way we can prevent the indoctrination that nokoolaid has been subject too.

Kate70

And Look again!!! There is antiteaparty going totally off the subject matter to promote his/her own agenda. I am so surprised.

IndependentOne

Wow. I can't believe we actually have people around here that hang on to that nut job AOC's liberal nonsense spew. I suppose you believe it was a good idea for AOC and her liberal cult followers to protest FairWay's attempt to get beds for all the children that are sleeping on the ground in"concentration camps". What a joke. You people need to wake up and see BOTH sides of the political system for what they are but more importantly you liberals need to come back to reality and see the Democrats positions for what they really are about which is total collapse of society, family and cultural values, economy, and most important of all..a sovereign nation so they can impose their sick twisted will on us all as slaves who depend on government for absolutely everything rather than being able to take care of ourselves.

antiteaparty

LOL you guys crack me up! If you hurry you might still get to D.C. for Dump's parade to himself. You will find many like-minded inbreeds there to celebrate with. IndependentOne, what a name, because you clearly are not. Did you straight up plagiarize Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity with your "the left wants to turn us to slaves" talking points or did you paraphrase? Also, it was Wayfair, not FairWay and it was it's employees that protested. What exactly is America's "cultural values"? As long as those are the talking points you stick too I will stick to mine. Look closely at recent history and it will become clear that real indoctrination in this society is a direct result of the rise in right wing radio and Faux News. It does not come from institutions of higher education encouraging their students to think critically.

IndependentOne

I can't honestly speak of the bias in SD campuses but when I was looking at getting a degree in anything with writing code or any other subject I seen a certain class you have to take in order to graduate. I cant remember the name but it had to do with family behavior, as if you need family counseling to write code into a computer or paint a car. After looking into it I knew right away that class is about cultivating human behavior, basically saying your'e not good enough for the work environment until you subject yourself to following along with the growing PC culture that is destroying society in this country. I decided I didn't need to pay $43,000 for indoctrination.

RJGleich

If your not man or woman enough to put your name behind your comment, you should not post a darn thing.

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